The West

Police blitz nabs 38 hoons
Impounded: Cars seized during Operation Konata. Picture: WA Police

Dozens of hoons have been stripped of their drivers' licences - including three banned from driving for life - after a yearlong police investigation that shut down a highly organised car club behind illegal gatherings on Perth streets.

Police this week revealed the scale of the blitz, codenamed Operation Konata, that involved plainclothes officers, intelligence analysts and investigators from the Midland-based State traffic operations.

As well as the three life bans, 35 hoons received licence suspensions totalling 231 months.

The operation was launched after a near-miss at an event early on February 5, 2012, on Mather Drive in the northern Perth suburb of Neerabup.

Dozens of people associated with the now-defunct club Running on Empty were there to watch a burnout competition when a car slammed into onlookers, reportedly injuring two men.

Traffic enforcement group Sen. Sgt Mike Sparkman said the group first came to police attention in late 2011.

In the months shortly before and immediately after the Neerabup incident, officers had linked almost 850 intelligence reports, including public complaints and from front-line officers.

Those reports led officers to identify a highly organised group that included a structured hierarchy, security personnel, event organisers, spotters to watch for police and fundraising through the sale of merchandise, including stickers and T-shirts.

In the first phase, police impounded nine cars involved in the Neerabup incident for 28 days.

Plainclothes officers then infiltrated another illegal car club meet in the south-eastern suburb of Forrestdale.

Besides Running on Empty, the Dirty Deeds club was identified.

Police unpicked a broad network of hoons who published images and video clips of themselves doing burnouts and driving recklessly on social networking sites including Facebook.

The Weekend West understands some of that material was crucial in prosecutions.

"Most car clubs are enthusiasts who meet to show off their cars but there is a small antisocial group who go out of their way to drive recklessly and perform burnouts," Sen. Sgt Sparkman said.

"There is no place on the public roads for people to carry out this type of driving.

"The Motorplex has Woop Ass Wednesdays which offer a controlled environment with safety officers where young guys and girls can take their souped-up machines and not pose a danger to anyone else in the community."

The West Australian

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